EXOSKELETON robot maker Cyberdyne burst onto the Japanese stock market on March 26, with the issue more than doubling on its first day of trade.
Just don’t expect to see cyborg warriors in the form of Arnold Schwarzenegger stomping down the street just yet.
This Cyberdyne is unrelated to the fictional firm responsible for the Terminator in the hit sci-fi film and TV franchise. Neither is one of its core products, HAL, related to the sentient computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
In this instance, HAL stands for Hybrid Assistive Limb, which is a power-assisted pair of “wearable legs”, a partial exoskeleton that can help the elderly or disabled get around.
“Today we listed onto the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s Mothers’ market ... We appreciate your additional guidance and encouragement,” the firm said in a statement, using an expression common to formal greetings in Japan.
The Mothers’ market is a forum aimed at providing venture companies with access to funds at an early stage of their development.
Cyberdyne, based in Tsukuba, north-east of Tokyo, has also produced a brainwave-controlled robot suit that allows wearers to don heavy radiation protection without feeling the weight, possibly offering utility to workers at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant. A huge tsunami in March 2011 smashed into the power plant, sparking meltdowns that forced the evacuation of a huge area of north-eastern Japan.
The decommissioning of the crippled plant is expected to take several decades.
The firm was established in 2004 to disseminate the research results of Tsukuba University professor Yoshiyuki Sankai.
Industrial robots have long been used in Japan, and robo-suits are gradually making inroads into hospitals and retirement homes. – AFP